Are you worried that your child or grandchild won’t get on the best path to start school this year? Was last year a tough year for your child? Do you dread helping your child stay organized and do homework? Well, you are not alone. Many parents with children who struggle and students really don’t look forward to demands of school. Here are four tips on starting the school year off on the right foot….
1. Connect with your child’s teachers early on
We often wait until the alarm goes off before we do anything. However, if your child struggles in school, touch base with your child’s teachers early in the school year. Many teachers return to school a week or so before the children return to school. Send your child’s teachers an email or give them a call and mention you have some concerns that you would like to share with them. Ask the teacher “When is the best time to contact you about this?” This brings awareness to the teacher that you have concerns that you want to communicate. Teachers are often overwhelmed at the beginning of the year so arranging a good time to discuss things lets them know you are serious about your child’s needs.
2. Prepare for the communication with the teacher
Once you hear back from the teacher, have your list of concerns already written down so you are ready to discuss them. It it good to keep a list in your cell phone. Here are some examples: “My child gets distracted easily, can you have him sit next to an excelling student?” or “My child is a visual learner, can he take pictures with his cell phone?” or “My child’s medication wears off in the mid afternoon, can you accommodate him by providing a fidget toy or break?” or “My child responds well to verbal praise or a prize” or “My child gets easily distracted by his cell phone, please be aware of that and take appropriate measures of removing it from him if he is not getting his schoolwork done.”
3. Ask your child what works for them
I was always the kind of kid that did better if it was quiet when I studied. I didn’t focus well with distraction. However, when I got to college my freshmen year, my roommate loved to study while listening to loud AC/DC music. (I can still hear those songs playing in my head sometimes) I was too timid to say anything to my roommate and my grades suffered. The point is to ask your child what works for them. Ask things like “Do you like to do your homework right after school or later?” or “Do you study better when it is quiet or with music?” or “What helps you do better in school?” Flexibility is the key. Collaborate and make your child part of the plan on when and how homework will get done.
4. Observe you child’s learning style
This took me years to figure out with my son. I would ask him about his school work and I would get frustrated with some of his responses. I later figured out that he learned best by watching things. I found out that my son was a very visual learner. Videos are a very effective learning tool for some children. Other kids do best touching things or being animated and acting things out when learning. Watch your child and observe and ask them how they learn best. Then, be sure to communicate that learning style to your child’s teachers.
Hang in there! You are not alone. The transition back to school is not always easy. Be proactive and don’t wait until the first semester grades come out or calls are made home from the teachers.